Backup to the Backup’s Backup

by on May 23, 2011 · 29 comments

By now, you should be fairly familiar with the Cardinals 25 active roster.  As of the completion of the game against the Royals, it consisted of 13 pitchers, 2 catchers, 6 infielders, and 5 outfielders, although technically Allen Craig was getting playing time as an infielder as of late.  Shortly after the game, it was announced the backup catcher Gerald Laird has a broken finger in his right hand and will go on the DL. 

Laird’s replacement has yet to be announced, but I’m putting my chips down on Tony Cruz.  Why?  Just a hunch, actually.  There is very little difference in the offensive numbers for Tony Cruz and Bryan Anderson at Memphis, but Cruz has more hr ( 4 – 1) and and rbi ( 16  – 6 ).  His slash line also looks slightly better:

  • Anderson – .216/.301/.351/.653
  • Cruz – .232/.295/.389/.685

Perhaps most importantly, he hasn’t had a chance prove himself at the big league level yet.  Anderson has, and he did quite well for himself in a 15 game stint last season.  As a matter of fact, he put up a rather impressive line of .281/.314/.344/.658, but he wasn’t nearly as impressive behind the plate.  Opponents were 5/6 in stolen base attempts, and he owned a .978 fielding percentage in Yadi’s spot.  Unfortunately for Bryan, those numbers will probably be remembered much more than his .281 batting average. 

While we’re on the subject of replacements, let’s not forget that Skip Schumaker is set to return soon.  That means saying goodbye to Pete Kozma for now, but it opens the door to an even bigger question.  When David Freese returns, who will leave then?  For now, I’d say that Allen Craig (performance) and Ryan Theriot (contract) are holding immunity idols, but a difficult choice will have to be made between Daniel Descalso and Tyler Greene at that point.

  • Descalso – .204/.288/.320/.609
  • Greene – .200/.316/.292/.608

I’m tempted to give the edge to Descalso for defensive reasons, even though Greene’s only errors have come when he’s played 2B.  Descalso’s only errors have come when he’s played 3B.  Do I dare say that they cancel each other out and wipe the defensive slate clean?  No, I wouldn’t go that far, and I’ll also give the nod to Descalso for his ability to play multiple positions, but don’t be surprised if this isn’t even a problem by the time Freese makes it back.

Why not?

Jon Jay is hitting .306/.390/.444/.835 with 3 hr and 11 rbi in only 83 plate appearances.  He’s currently good for 0.6 WAR.  Colby Rasmus is hitting .287/.391/.437/.828 with 3 hr and 15 rbi in 191 plate appearances.  Raz is currently good for 1.0 WAR.  Why not send Raz packing in a combo deal that includes one of Skip, Dirty Dan, or Greene for as much as they can get in return?  Just a thought.

TIDBIT:  As much as I dislike the choosing-your-lineup adventure every other night, it seems like the Cardinals are just searching for the right infield combination that works for a given pitcher.  It isn’t always pretty, but you can’t say that TLR isn’t trying.

MORE BITS OF TID:  If Cruz is called up, then the backup to the backup’s backup would technically be Anderson…I think….maybe.

FYI – Between Cruz and Anderson, Cruz managed to stick around longer in spring training, and he seems to be more the Laird-type the Cardinals prefer for their backups.   

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Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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